GARLAND, Texas - A freelance journalist and real estate agent was found murdered Monday afternoon in Garland.
Police say someone shot 56-year-old Jacinto “Jay” Torres Hernandez in the upper body in the backyard of a house in the 4200 block of Mayflower Drive. His body had likely been there for multiple days.
"We're not rich people, but we know the right people, the right friends,” said Gibran Torres, Jacinto’s son. “We will find whoever did this to my father. He didn't deserve to go the way he did."
Jacinto immigrated to the U.S. decades ago as he followed his dream career. He succeeded in becoming an award-winning print reporter and photographer who covered stories affecting the Hispanic community.
Jacinto was also a real estate agent and investor. He was working with a partner to flip the house where his body was found.
"The last time I saw my dad actually was Thursday evening,” said Jacinto’s daughter, Aline Torres. “I left the house and left my key. He noticed I left my key, and he left a spare. He said be safe, here's the key. I texted him Friday evening around 6 p.m. and I never heard a response."
Jacinto’s family said his real estate investment partner had become worried when Torres told him he was going there on Friday and then never responded to texts or calls over the weekend.
"When he followed up with him later, he didn't hear anything back,” explained Gibran. “That’s when he went out to the house on Monday.”
Jacinto’s real estate partner discovered his body behind the house.
Those close to him describe Jacinto as a compassionate man who volunteered his time to help young journalists and families working to achieve U.S. citizenship. They indicate, on occasion, he discussed pursuing immigration related stories that made him fear for his safety.
"We’re helping them as much as we can to hand over any notes he had for any stories, risky stories he was working on that could possibly be of any interest to the police,” said Gibran.
Police say they're investigating every possible angle, aiming to uncover just who would want Jacinto dead.
"They are working hard to find out exactly what's going on, examining all aspects of this particular murder case,” said Pedro Barineau with Garland police.
Members of Hispanic Communicators DFW, the local chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, are mourning the loss. They said Torres worked in the journalism industry for more than two decades, often contributing to the Spanish-language newspaper La Estrella.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Garland Police Department or Crime Stoppers at 972-272-8477.